Situation in the Middle East

SC: The situation in the Middle East

Statement by Ambassador Tore Hattrem at the Open Debate on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, 25 January 2018.

| Security Council

Mr. President,

Long-term peace, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians can only be achieved through a negotiated two-state solution. The political process has been at a standstill for years, and the situation is becoming increasingly tense and dangerously fragile. The outstanding final status issues must be resolved through direct negotiations between the parties, with support from the international community. 

Norway’s objection to settlements is longstanding and firm. Settlement activity undermines prospects for a two-state solution, and must stop.

At this critical juncture, with the support of the parties and other stakeholders, Norway and the EU have decided to convene an extraordinary ministerial session of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) in Brussels on 31 January.

The meeting will address two issues. First, there is an urgent need to discuss measures that may have a positive impact on the efforts to restart final status negotiations. Progress towards realizing the two-state solution must be made. Second, the meeting will also discuss efforts to assist the Palestinian Authority to reinstate its control in Gaza, as outlined in the Cairo agreement of 12 October 2017.

Mr. President,

UNRWA’s delivery of essential services, especially education and health services is crucial to address the basic needs of the Palestine refugees. In these efforts, UNRWA also has a vital role in preserving stability in the region, particularly in Lebanon and Jordan. The financial situation of UNRWA is critical, and there is a risk that the organisation will not be able to deliver on its mandate. Together with UNRWA, the donors must find a way to address this acute crisis.

Mr. President,

ISIL has lost almost all its territory in Iraq and Syria, in great part due to the efforts of the anti-ISIL-coalition and its local partners. However, to achieve long-term stability in the liberated areas, political inclusive solutions and reconciliation are key. We urge the Iraqi Government to address the underlying factors that led to the emergence of ISIL.

Norway is concerned about the recent escalation in northwestern Syria. More than 200 000 people have been displaced since mid-December. We reiterate the need to respect Security Council resolution 2393 to allow humanitarian access to those in need.

Once again, we underline the need for all parties involved in the conflict to work through the UN-led negotiations to secure durable peace. Norway continues to stand by the Syrian people. We have provided more than 1 billion USD in assistance to the Syria crisis since 2011, and we will contribute an additional half a billion USD over the next two years.

Thank you.